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Pancho Vladigerov is arguably the most important composer Bulgaria has yet produced. Admired by composers such as Shostakovich and Richard Strauss, this new release of his orchestral works clearly reflects the cultural heritage of his country. The combination of folk music with the European classical tradition has both an immediate and enduring appeal.

We take the opportunity to also present works by two other composers with Bulgarian roots: the composer/conductor Emil Tabakov, whose many distinctions include his tenure as conductor of the Sofia Philharmonic for many years; and the polymath Henri Lazarov, born in Sofia and now resident in the United States.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899–1978)
Bulgarian Suite
Seven Symphonic Bulgarian Dances
Vardar Rhapsody

Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra
Nayden Todorov

Pancho Vladigerov is considered by many to be the most influential composer that Bulgaria has yet produced, gaining fame between the World Wars and earning the admiration of Shostakovich. The three works recorded here are a testament to Vladigerov’s mission to bring Bulgarian music to international attention, successfully combining elements of folk music with European classical tradition. The Vardar Rhapsody has been called ‘the Bulgarian equivalent of Chopin’s Polonaise in A’, and the lively and exotic Seven Symphonic Bulgarian Dances is among the most notable of a series of works that fuse joyous regional melodies with sophisticated Western orchestration.

Listen to an extract from 7 Symphonic Bulgarian Dances:
No. 3: Presto
About the Artists
Nayden Todorov is among the most talented Bulgarian musicians of his generation, with a vast repertoire that spans both symphonic and operatic works. A native of Bulgaria, the multi-talented European conductor has worked with orchestras in Vienna, Israel and Bulgaria, where he currently serves as general director of the Sofia Philharmonic. Todorov has recorded over one hundred albums and in 2012 was named Bulgarian Musician of the Year.
Bulgaria's Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra was established in 1919. A highlight in its history was the collaboration it enjoyed with Shostakovich and the premiere of the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in 1958. The orchestra is the initiator and host of the March Music Days and Winter Musical Evenings festivals. It has undertaken several international tours, and its discography includes recordings in the Golden Fund of the Bulgarian National Radio, and Television and Radio Berlin.
Recommended recordings
‘… [Henri Lazarov’s] Concerto for Orchestra is a real workout for all sections, including prominent thundering percussion … it cleverly draws on the Icarus myth as a tribute to Houston as home of NASA Mission Control.’
Audiophile Audition ★★★★
Listen to an extract from Lazarov's Concerto for Orchestra No. 2, ‘Icarus’:
Part III
Henri LAZAROF (b. 1932)
Tableaux for Piano and Orchestra
Violin Concerto • Symphony No. 2

Yukiko Kamei • Garrick Ohlsson
Seattle Symphony • Gerard Schwarz
Listen to an extract from Tableaux for Piano and Orchestra:
Tableau III
Emil TABAKOV (b. 1947)
Concerto for Two Flutes
Piano Concerto

Patrick Gallois • Philippe Bernold • Jean-Philippe Collard
Bilkent Symphony Orchestra • Emil Tabakov
‘These performances by top-rank soloists nicely supported by a very responsive orchestra conducted by the composer are all very fine, and well recorded.’
MusicWeb International
Listen to an extract from Concerto for 2 Flutes:
II. Allegro giocoso

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